Space broadband network to put EU back in the technology race
A big project is, at the moment, being discussed by the EU commission. The project consist of a proposed satellite mega-constellation used to fill in a gap in broadband coverage. This will be the first stage, but later it might be an important piece in things like self-driving cars.
It will be essential for the project that it can be begin shortly, as two other similar project from America´s Starlink and the UK-Indian OneWeb networks, are already underway.
This will be a massive task to complete. To develop a secure space based connectivity system takes time and before the construction can even begin, a team must first develop a design that would work. A team for this task has already begun the process. The team consist of European Satellite manufactures and other service providers who will first study a possible design before starting the development. The first feedback should arrive around April this year.
EU official have only briefly revealed what they expect from the new telecommunication project, but considering the time and cost of the project, it would something spectacular. Previous project covers the Galileo satellite navigation constellation and the Copernicus programme, which has a sentinel spacecraft observing earth.
The new satellite would need a lot of technical features like quantum encryption, optical connectors that, with the help of sensors, could monitor aviation and ship lanes. This expensive hardware would be the must have in order to enable the upcoming technology advancements like self-driving cars.
In order to be competitive in the technology race, Europe would need such capabilities, and they would need it fast, as the competition is fierce.
The focus, however, is to fill a growing need for broadband services to those last member states where ground infrastructure are unable to deliver the necessary broadband services, which is believed to be several million households.
The project comes with a price, a very high price. The cost is believed to be in the billions of euros, and in order to achieve this kind of financing some sort of public-private partnership would be the best solution. The officials have stated they have funds from various directorates, but would still need investment from industry, individual member states and the European Space Agency as well.
Speed is also very essential. The Galileo project took 20 years from the drawing board until operational, and since Elon Musk´s SpaceX company and OneWeb has in some way already started trials for their satellite program, EU need to begin construction shortly.
It will also be of the outmost importance to secure the correct frequency for the satellite to operate, and the negotiation with the International Telecommunications Union has already been going on for a few month.
If everything works out the space broadband network should be up and running in 2027.